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Landmarked Damone house sells for $5.75 million

Posted On: 01-08-2015

By Darrell Hofheinz Daily News Real Estate Writer

Singer Vic Damone and his fashion-designer wife Rena Rowan Damone have parted with La Casita, their landmarked residence at 200 Via Bellaria, which had been on the market for three years.

The house sold for $5.75 million to a revocable trust in the name of Palm Beach property owner and private investor Victor Spilotro, according the deed recorded Wednesday by the Palm Beach County Clerk’s office.

The Mediterranean-style house in the Estate Section was designed by noted society architect Maurice Fatio in 1928. It was extensively renovated by Rena Rowan Damone in the early 1990s, before her marriage to Damone in 1998.

The property was owned through a limited-liability limited partnership, Via Bellaria LLLP, according to property records. Palm Beacher Lisa Rowan, one of Rena Rowan Damone’s four children, described the LLLP as “an irrevocable trust for the benefit of her children, as she always intended.

”The Damones, who downsized a few years ago to a townhouse in Sloan’s Curve, could not be reached for comment.

In all, the four-bedroom main residence and its two-bedroom poolside guesthouse have 7,889 square feet of living space. The property measures four-tenths of an acre in the middle of an ocean-to-lake block, a couple of streets south of the South County Road curve.

Monique Matheson Properties LC handled both sides of the sale, said broker Monique Matheson, who had originally listed the house at $9.5 million in January 2012. The price had dropped several times since and was last posted at $6.95 million. Matheson said furnishings in the house changed hands separately in this week’s sale.

Fatio’s ‘best work’“

The buyer has impeccable taste, and the property is an outstanding example of Maurice Fatio’s best work, which is timeless,” said Matheson, who would not comment further on the parties involved.

Spilotro, who has ties to Illinois, owns a vacant lot at 304 Garden Road, property records show. His mailing address is listed in property records as a landmarked house on North Ocean Boulevard owned by a trust in the name of his stepfather, Harvey Kinzelberg.

In the early 1970s, Rena Rowan Damone co-founded the Jones New York apparel label with Sidney Kimmel. She and Kimmel served as trustees of a trust in his name that bought the house in 1990 and owned it until 1997, when she took ownership.

In 2012, Rena Rowan Damone, joined on the deed by Vic Demone, transferred ownership to Via Bellaria LLLP.

Fatio designed the estate for a prominent society hostess, Mrs. Alexander McKay. Its original address, 157 Via Bellaria, was later changed. The house was landmarked in 2008.

Grand … still comfortable

In a 2012 Daily News article about the property, Vic Damone said although the house was grand, it was still comfortable. “Some mansions don’t feel like home,” he said. “This one does.

”It also reminded him of Italy, he said, thanks to its Old World-style details and Italianate architecture. He mentioned a visit by the late actor Anthony Quinn, who had once visited with his two children.

“He loves Italy. He walked in and said, ‘I want this house. I think I’m in Italy,’ ” Damone recalled in the newspaper article. “My wife has lived in this house for years. She was the mastermind (behind the renovation). Everything she does is perfect, and every corner is meticulously done.

”The house, Lisa Rowan said Thursday, was always the “pride and joy” of her mother, who worked closely with decorator Juan Montoya on the three-year renovation project.

“It was my mother’s home. She had houses in New York and Philadelphia, but she considered this her home,” said Lisa Rowan. “Anyone who knows my mother knows that she loved that house. It was her pride and joy.

”Among the home’s features are a freestanding circular staircase in the foyer and the living room’s intricate ceiling details, pecky-cypress paneling, fireplace and oak floors. A glass-walled dining area showcases views of the landscaped rear courtyard, anchored by a fountain and pool.

Vic Damone is known for his recordings of songs such as On the Street Where You Live and An Affair to Remember.

 

Source: Darrell Hofheinz, January 8, 2015, Palm Beach Daily News

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